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Archive for the ‘Immigration Law’ Category

Guantanamo Bay and Extrajudicial Detention

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

The Guantanamo Bay detainment camp in Cuba was set up by the United States military, and it is currently in use to house people suspected of being Al-Qaeda or Taliban operatives, as well as housing those whose names have been cleared but who have yet to be relocated. The detainment camp has become a central point not only in the opposition to the Terror and Iraq wars, but as a highly controversial benchmark for the use of torture on prisoners.

The American military, whose responsibility was to the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, maintains that the said prisoners and suspects were not actually entitled protection under the Geneva Convention like other war prisoners and therefore most were held without trial and still in fact reside in the facility without having a trial date set. The American Criminal Law system dictates that all prisoners must only be held on strong suspicion of misconduct or crime and that each one of these must be taken into court and held to trial. The difference between this law and Guantanamo Bay, said the military, is that the latter is not on American soil and therefore different military-set laws apply.

The same response was given for the accusations of torture on prisoners residing in the naval base. The camp made headlines across the world when it was revealed that military personnel were using different methods of torture to try to extract information concerning terrorist plots from their prisoners. Following denial of the incidents, it was eventually determined that such practices had in fact occurred but that, again, the military felt it held precedent over American law due to the outlying position of the base.

Controversy has continued concerning the conduct of military personnel in the base and of course concerning the continuing unlawful practices according to American criminal law. Many prisoners remain without any real hope of trial and a large percentage of these are expected to remain indefinitely in the detention center. The international community is making an effort to reveal harsh and unlawful conditions of the naval base but so far very little has been done to change the circumstances concerning arrest and imprisonment of the captives. In many cases it remains unclear as to what suspicions were at work in the arrest in the first place, with only vague labels of ‘terrorism plot’ to justify the presence of any individual within the camp.

The Bush administration maintains that prisoners held in suspicion of their connection to the Taliban or Al-Qaeda are not subject to Geneva Convention international law because such law only applies to persons affiliated with an official nation; the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are no such formal entities on the international stage. To date, the Guantanamo Bay detention center continues to be used for the imprisonment of suspected dangerous terrorists and a very large percentage of the world population paying attention to the current political climate feel that the base is only used so that the American military might sidestep its obligations to international and American law.

Immigrating to the U.S.? Do this first!

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

Applying for a temporary visa to reside in the U.S. can sometimes be a long and difficult process, depending on your personal situation. But if you can fully prepare your immigration application, you have a much better chance at going through the process smoothly and of course successfully. Here is a guide on what you can do to prepare for visa application.

First of all, you’ll need to classify yourself. There are both non-immigrant and immigrant visas. And under those types, there are even more categories. Do you simply want to study, work, or tour the U.S. or do you want to permanently reside there? And if you are seeking work there, what kind of work? Etc. These are the kinds of basic questions you must first sift through before immigrating to the U.S.

So, listed below are various tips that will keep you pushing your immigration application forward without being interrupted or having to backtrack! It’s a tedious and complicated journey on its own, so avoid as many hangups and hiccups as you can from the get-go.

· Make sure your passport is up to date and will not expire anytime soon. You will need this to purchase your visa receipt! Even if your passport expires a whole year from now, that is still considered old. Obtain a new passport right away.

· You can download and print the visa application from your computer because it can be found online. You will need Acrobat Reader to do this and you may need to print out the form back to back on 8.5′ and 11′ paper. (Look into your consular office’s requirements for this.)

· Fill out all the questions of your visa application, except where an answer is not available. Put “NA” there.

· Remember that names are different from country to country. In your passport, your whole name might make up only one line and this must reflect your visa application! In other words, you will need to obtain a new passport with your first and last name more clearly identified. Those with South Indian names should be especially wary of this.

· Don’t forget to sign the form! If an applicant is under a certain age, a parent or guardian can sign it instead.

· Make sure to make your current address clear, as opposed to your permanent address.

· You will need a photo taken of you for your application. You must be faced to the front and in front of a light-colored background. As well, your photo must not be more than 6 months old. Again, these detailed requirements vary depending on what embassy you are applying for a visa through. So the most important part of immigration application prep is to investigate what unique requirements your embassy has.

But there’s a lot more you can do to get the ball rolling.

· Your U.S. sponsor should send the necessary documents to the consulars office as soon as possible.

· Make sure your sponsor and you are both on the same page, literally and figuratively.

· All documents sent in must be dated no more than one month prior to the time they are processed.

· Don’t correct errors on an application – just ask for a new one!

· There will be an interview – don’t take any valuable personal belongings with you, unless you have someone to go with who can watch over them while you’re at the interview.

Remember, that your immigration to the U.S. is never guaranteed. So the better prepared you are, the better your chances are at successfully immigrating.

One step closer to immigrating to the US: submitting your application

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

So, you’re ready to jump through some hoops to immigrate to the United States, huh? Well, it really isn’t all that daunting a process if you’re prepared for it. Unfortunately, a lot of technical requirements and miscellaneous tasks await a person who is ready to migrate to a new country, especially one with the intense border control of America. Don’t you think you should know what they are?

Remember that as you go through the immigration process, your embassy or consulate will have a lot of power and so will the American immigration officer; in fact the latter will have the final say. Evidence, documents, and attitude aside, you aren’t ever in total control of your immigration. So make sure you cross your t’s and dot your i’s! Try to be as accurate and complete with your application process so that you don’t encounter any obstacles on the road to your new living arrangement.

Before submitting your immigration application, there are some things to keep in mind. In order to avoid pitfalls that often haunt others trying to accomplish the same goal, follow the tips below:

· Your passport will be important when applying for a visa. Make sure it is up to date and has accurate information about you

· It’s easy to download an immigration form online; just make sure it’s the proper one and you have Acrobat Reader for viewing – also, when you go to print, you may be required to print it out back to back and with certain dimensions

· Fill out the form as extensively and deeply as you can, otherwise put “N/A”

· An up to date, face-fronting photo with high contrast is a must for your application so have this on hand

· Your host in the U.S. can start putting the process in motion by sending in all necessary, up-to-date documents to the embassy you are dealing with; you’ll want to be sure that there are no inconsistencies with the information your host and you give the embassy

· Prepare to answer questions during your interview about why you are immigrating to the U.S.; there are certain qualifications to do such a thing and you must be careful that you don’t disqualify yourself on accident!

You can easily obtain a visa application visiting U.S. government Web sites on the World Wide Web. and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are tremendous resources for you.

Now, in order to submit your visa, you must locate the appropriate embassy to submit it to. Make an appointment with the consulars office and ask about fees ahead of time.

What you will need is: a passport, important documents, visa application forms (of course), and payment for whatever fees. Once the consulars office “okay’s” you, you’ll then greet an immigration officer in America. Essentially, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will determine the length of your stay and all those other important details about your immigration status.

Non-immigrant v. Immigrant Visas

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

Whether you’re leaving home to temporarily visit or permanently move to the United States, there are two basic types of visas available for you. Here is a guide to visas, so you can determine where you fit in to the picture!

The first question you must ask yourself before it’s asked of you is: are you a non-immigrant or an immigrant?

Non-immigrant Status Visas

Do you have a permanent residence outside the United States but you want to temporarily leave your home to study or tour abroad? Then you might be interested in a non-immigrant visa. Here are some reasons you might visit the U.S. temporarily: medical treatment, tourism, work, and/or study.

The caveat here is that you must prove you are a non-immigrant, as opposed to an immigrant. This process of providing evidence that you deserve a non-immigrant visa is variable and depends on the specific embassy you are dealing with. Remember that you can have all the documents you want on your side and that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a visa.

In fact, your non-immigrant visa may be given to you based on a different process than another aspiring non-immigrant traveler might go through; this is simply because people and situations vary so greatly. A younger person studying in the United States will meet different scrutiny than an elderly person seeking medical treatment. Keep in mind that you will have to submit specific documents for your visa – be prepared!

There are dozens of categories that non-immigrants can fit into, including foreign government officials and business or pleasure visitors. Because of these highly-specified categories, there are several types of non-immigrant visas. For example, media and journalists can apply for a non-immigrant visa that gives them the green light to travel to the United States, while Mexican travelers will be interested in a border crossing card. The world of visas is a big and complicated one and unfortunately you can’t navigate it all by yourself – the consular offices will make most of the decisions for you. The best thing you can do is be prepared with the right documents.

Immigrant Visas

People from all over the world immigrate to the United States and they do that with immigrant visas. Occasionally, an individual can apply for an immigrant visa on their own, but more often than not, a relative or potential employer in the United States will apply. Obviously immigrant visas are handed out in a completely different way than non-immigrant visas. The United States government, as opposed to its respective embassy, does have more of a role in the process however.

Don’t forget about student and visitor exchange programs, which make the visa application process a lot easier and more immediately legitimate.

So hopefully now you are more clear about what type of visa you will need to come to America and can stay, whether for a short or a long period of time, legally in the United States.

Making Sense of Change: U.S. Immigration Reform

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

Immigration reform is undoubtedly one of the most glaring issues the presidential candidates will wrestle over as the 2008 election approaches. But in order to go about changing U.S. immigration laws, it’s important that we as citizens precisely understand in what ways these laws can be changed.

Do you know what life is like for immigrants here in the U.S.? Do you know how people migrate here illegally? A majority of Americans believe in immigration reform, but what does that reform entail? Here’s an article covering the basics of the changes in immigration laws that are being pushed for by citizens and politicians alike.

This year, true immigration reform was halted by a congress and a president at odds with each other. But a new administration is about to take over and that means the door will soon be open for changing U.S. immigration laws once again.

Immigration increases the population and changes the cultural and ethnic makeup of America, and now because of fears of foreign terrorists, it’s become a huge source of controversy.

The main debate about immigration revolves around illegal immigrants. Should we grant amnesty to illegal immigrants in our country? Should illegal immigrants be portrayed as criminals because they are burdening American services and taking American jobs? Should we also, or instead, track down businesses who hire illegal immigrants and punish them for it? Should it be easier to immigrate to the U.S.? There has even been a movement to build a physical border separating Mexico and the United States.

More than eight million illegal immigrants are living in America right now. The main goal of changing U.S. immigrations laws is not only to protect our borders, but to yield an organized and strategic plan for coping with those who are already inside those borders illegally. While national security is always a major issue, the vast majority of illegal immigrants are simply working to support their family, just like all other Americans. This disconnect between protecting America’s defense and resources, and honoring a human being’s right to make a decent living for themselves is at the forefront of immigration reform.

While race is a conspicuous aspect of immigration, immigration reform is hardly a black and white issue. As citizens become more knowledgeable and involved about the subject, the chances that a reasonable compromise can be made will only become greater.

It seems difficult for the Average Joe to motivate radical changes in U.S. immigration laws, but the collective effort of every citizen will make a difference in legislation (and already has, to an extent). There exists a powerful cry for immigration reform and the 2008 presidential candidates have heard it loud and clear. Send a letter to your senators and representatives telling them what changes you want made in U.S. immigration laws.

Keep in mind that the enemy to immigration reform is oversimplified and/or confused debate. In order to inspire real change, we must understand the issue and accept and appreciate the deep complexities and subtleties of long-lasting effects of immigration (both good and bad).

How much work do I have to do to work in the U.S?

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

Just because you don’t live in the United States permanently, doesn’t mean you can’t work there! Many people are successfully granted work visas every year so that they can temporarily reside in the U.S. legally without truly moving from their home. Let’s presuppose that you do not have a greencard. In this case, can you work in the U.S.? Before moving on, remember that there are several ways you can apply to temporarily live in the U.S. This article will mostly address non-immigrant workers.

Your first requirement for working in the U.S. is quite obviously authorization from the U.S. government. But how do you get this? Well, work authorization typically comes in the form of a visa which you must apply for at the consulars office of your embassy to the U.S. There are a variety of visas you can apply for; this is a highly individual and variable process! On occasion, you can apply for a non-work related visa and then petition for work authorization later. People studying abroad often to do just this.

The consulars office has a great deal of control over your fate. Documents and motives help your case, of course, but it is ultimately up to the embassy if you receive a work visa or not. This is not meant to discourage you, but just to enlighten you about how temporary visas are never guaranteed.

There are also those who can gain work authorization by simply legally immigrating to the U.S. In other words, they do permanently reside in the country and thus gain working privileges. This is how you would get a greencard (mentioned earlier).

But how do you know if you’re a good candidate for a work visa? First off, an employer in America can sponsor you. This is a avenue that’s commonly taken. However, you can also sponsor yourself. This is just a bit trickier to do. Only if you are incredibly in demand here in the U.S., for example you have extraordinary ability in your field, can you sponsor yourself. So can you work in the U.S.? Yes, if you manage to earn a green card or there is an employer in the country eager to hire you on board. Otherwise, it might be more challenging to work in the U.S. unless you are an exceptional employee with rare skill and/or talent.

An important note: the more skilled and professional you are at your job, the better chances you will have at successfully traveling to the U.S. and working there. Engineers, doctors, and teachers, for instance, easily work in the U.S. As do workers who fill in gaps that U.S. residents won’t fill. In other words, if you’re interested in a job that no U.S. citizen wants, then your work visa will be more swiftly granted to you.

There’s still one last pesky caveat: some occupations simply don’t qualify you for a work visa! Make sure to check these detailed requirements out as you prepare to work in the U.S.